Central Ontario Crop Consultants meeting notes May 20, 2014

 Fungicide Application Decision in Wheat

Fungicide Application Decision in Wheat (Photo courtesy D. Hooker)

SYNOPSIS: Wet, wet, wet ! Most areas are struggling to get more than a couple of dry days for field work. Cool temperatures and frequent showers are forcing many to do field work 1-2 days before fields are fit. Corn planting is about 40%-50% complete across the region. Wheat damage claim calls have diminished, although some fields still being lost.  Canola planting about 50% complete. Soybean planting started this week.  Wheat weed control needs to begin.

Corn: Good planting progress over the weekend on the silt loam and loam soils in most areas. Very little progress on clay soils.  Estimates range from 30-60% planted.  Supply of early maturity hybrids is often very limited.  Growers with considerable acres to plant are switching to earlier hybrids, often 5-7 days earlier.  Switching away from full season hybrids should be considered for areas with less than 2800 HU, and May 20-25th in areas 2800-3200 HU area. All HU map ratings are based on May 1 start date. A number of factors need to be considered in making a switch. Pioneer is field testing  drought tolerant hybrids (trade name Optimum AQUAmax).  These hybrids were developed through conventional breeding, and the exact mechanism of the traits that provide improved drought tolerance are not fully known, characteristics of hybrids include less water use per bushel, deeper kernals, staygreen, improved root system.  There was some debate about amount of improvement in water use efficiency and yield increase under water stress environments. USA Pioneer grower comparison data over past 3 years shows 6.9 bu/ac yield increase in water stress environments.

Wheat: Agricorp reports damage claims are down to a trickle compared to earlier. Most calls are coming in from northern areas. Wheat growth has made significant improvement.  Weed control is just starting and is even more critical this year because of thin canopy. Aerial imagery of wheat fields is proving very interesting. Felix Weber is collecting imagery of a number of wheat trials and fields at different timings.  He has a new multispectral camera collecting different wave lengths that takes into account daylight.  Felix is very interested in field trials where collection of field data will help to validate and refine aerial imagery.

Many are questioning the benefit of early timed fungicide application because of thin wheat crops. Data indicates about a 3 bu/ac yield increase from early fungicide application ( data from Dave Hooker, RCAT)

Soybeans:  Planting just started this week in few areas. Some have shifted to beans simply because field was ready. Estimated 10% of acres planted. Early maturity varieties in tight supply.  Shortages of peat inoculant, but liquid inoculant supplies appear adequate. The percentage of pre-inoculated seed varies by company but concensus was over 50% are now treated.  Burndown herbicide application started this week.

Spring Cereals:  Planting is nearly complete, and emergence appears good.  Intended spring wheat acreage is flat, but down significantly in eastern Ontario. Sales of spring wheat higher than expected with good portion of this going to patch in winter wheat fields. Northern Ontario areas have made little progress, and acres of oats and soybeans will be up significantly, at the expense of canola.

Forages: A number of questionable alfalfa stands are now being kept due to late date for new seedings.  For information on assessing forage stands and management options refer to article ‘Forage Options When Alfalfa Winterkills’ on fieldcropnews.com : http://bit.ly/1m1Fqd9

Agricorp:  Far too many growers delay reporting final acreage until near deadline resulting in fustrations with long delays when calling in.  Agricorp continues to improve the on-line system for reporting acres, and many growers are buying into the idea.  Growers need to pre – set up their account for on-line reporting. Notices were sent to all customers. Growers need to be reminded to report acres of wheat that are to be replanted before being destroyed.  Information on planting deadlines is available on
Agricorp website : http://bit.ly/1lNiY60. Corn planting deadlines follow OMAF heat unit map. Growers who call in Agricorp contact centre for deadlines will be given these dates for where their home farm is located. For growers on border of zones, it is advised they discuss with their agent.

Wheat Fungicide Timing and Application:  Dr Dave Hooker, RCAT provided an excellent review of development of current best practices for fungicide application timing, yield benefit, and application practices.  The following summaries are attached


Field Crop Diagnostic Days: July 9/10 – Ridgetown; July 17 – Elora,  July 15- Eastern (Kemptville)

Crop Insurance deadlines:

June 15: Last day to report unseeded acres

June 30: Spring seeded final acreage reports due.